Explaining Horse Bits
Confused about the different horse bits available to you? This guide should help clear things up.
Tuesday 19 January 2010
Despite its humble appearance, a horse bit is mightily important in the successful training of a horse. Any training exercises will require hard work and discipline if the horse is going to master techniques effectively, and horse bits play a significant part in a rider’s overall control of the horse. To learn more about these amazing pieces of tack, read our guide below.
Bits for Horses
- Curb Bits – Anybody looking to master the challenging techniques synonymous of the Western riding style needs to think about investing in a curb bit. This type of bit jumps into action when a rider pulls the reins and downward pressure on the bars and the tongue. Unlike with standard horse racing, no rings are used. Solid shanks are instead used to control the horse’s movement. Under the horse’s mouth the curb bit also has an effective chin strap that boosts the rider’s ability to stop the horse – something which is a very important safety measure in the occasionally dangerous challenges Western riding provides.
- Snaffle Bits – This is the most common type of bit, used in regular training and an ideal starting point for inexperienced riders looking to learn more about fitting the bit. The metal cannons of the snaffle bit fuse together in the middle to apply upward pressure on the horse’s mouth. These bits are really convenient for those learning the basics as only minimum pressure needs to be applied and the horse’s mouth suffers minimal pain.
- Bridle Bits – For more information on choosing the right bridle bit for your horse, check out our in depth guide on our ‘How To’ pages
- Finally – For some horse owners, the bit can seem a little cruel as a method of control, so if you do have concerns, a bitless bridle may prove a happy compromise. However, it is worth noting that bits have become far more equine friendly over the years as animal cruelty issues have come to the fore, so most bits in the modern era are designed to cause as little harm as possible to the horse.